Lesser Known Causes Of Allergic Reactions In Humans

Allergies are affecting more people each year and the numbers are not declining anytime soon. Statistics available from the National Institutes of Health suggest that hay fever and other allergic diseases have shot up by 200 to 300 percent in the last 40 years.

It’s even more alarming that over half of today’s Americans will experience an allergy to one thing or the other during their lives.1 Shockingly, around a billion people now suffer from allergic diseases worldwide. Besides outdoor air pollution, even our houses, our bodies and the food we eat contribute to the allergy epidemic.

Lesser Known Causes Of Allergies

1. Climate Change

Climate change has resulted in an increase in allergies worldwide

We all know that the world is getting warmer and the ice caps are melting faster than ever. But what has that got to do with allergies? Environmental conditions that create global warming and climate change is a major cause of allergies.


study of the pollen levels in the US shows a steady increase in pollen production during this century (from 2001) and predicts that the pollen levels can triple by 2040.2

Increasing pollen levels have a lot to do with the pollution that is causing climate change. Another report attributes greater pollen to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is the result of industrial and automotive pollution.3

2. Pollen

The enzymes in pollen grains can damage the lining of the respiratory tract

Studies suggest that the pollen grains can actually be toxic.4 Pollen grains contain an enzyme that damages the lining of the respiratory tract (nose and lungs), which in turn increases the allergic reactions. Besides increasing the pollen load, pollution makes pollen more allergenic.5


air causes damage to our respiratory tissues and makes our environment more likely to cause allergies. Research shows that children who are exposed to heavy vehicular traffic are at an increased risk of developing pollen allergy.6

Like any other ailments, pollen allergy impairs their performance at school and affects their sleep. Even adults are vulnerable to this risk as pollen allergy interferes with driving skills and productivity at work.


Exposure to formaldehyde is known to cause many health problems

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature and has a strong odor. Exposure to formaldehyde is known to cause many adverse health effects. This chemical is released into the air in our bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms from glued wood products, furnishings, and smoke. It is both a powerful irritant and an allergen.

Scientists have established a direct link between the levels of formaldehyde found in homes and the possibility that children in those homes would develop allergies to common inhalants, like pollen and dust. Formaldehyde levels in homes is increasing by the day and resulting in a surge in allergies.7


Exposure to triclosan can cause asthma in children

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that is commonly used in personal care products and cleaning solutions. It has been found in the nasal secretions of almost half of the population in the US. Exposure to triclosan can alter the bacteria found in our bodies and increases8 the chances of children developing asthma9 or hay fever.10 In lab experiments on animals, triclosan exposure was shown to increase the possibility of developing a peanut allergy.11

Fast Food

Eating fast food is known to increase the chances of developing allergies

Certain foods that we eat also play a key role in causing allergies. An analysis by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children observed that consumption of fast food more than thrice a week increases the risk of allergic diseases in children and adolescents.12 On the other hand, eating fruits at least thrice a week greatly decreases the risk as fruits contain protective nutrients called flavonoids, which are not found in commercial fast foods.

Toxic Environment And Inherited Allergies

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Recent research reveals that these environmental factors, which cause allergies can also affect the function of human genes. These changes to the genes, called epigenetic modifications, can be transmitted from the mother to the child for many generations.13

The allergies created today have the potential to affect our future generations and adversely impact human health in the future. This effect has been clearly demonstrated in the well-known familial clustering of allergic diseases, in which maternal allergy are predominant.14

Using Medications To Treat Allergies

Some medications used to treat allergies can lead to decrease in cognitive function


or subduing the symptoms of allergies using medications is not a permanent solution. Many studies have found that the commonly used drugs such as antihistamines can lead to a long-term decrease in cognitive function.15 16 More importantly, medication does not prevent the epigenetic effects of the allergy epidemic but only attempts to suppress the symptoms.